Bonjour a touts!

I’ve been at La Muse for about two weeks now, and I’ve had quite the adventure thus far!

My fellow Musers are wonderful, and last weekend we all walked to the next town over to eat at Sire de Cabaret. Lunch was delicious (confit au canard avec pomme frites, café et la glace pour moi), and before we knew it we’d been eating and enjoying the wine for about three hours! Three of us decided to take the trail back to the maison, knowing that it would be a little under forty minutes. (It took fifteen to get there walking on the main road.)

Long story short, we took the trail in the opposite direction, and we finally made it back to La Muse (soaking wet from the thunderstorm we were caught in, but without pitching the groceries or drinking the wine) after three and a half hours! (Truth be told, if we could have figured out how to open the wine bottles without drinking shards of glass, we probably would have done it.)

La Cite!

On Monday I saw the medieval Cite of Carcassonne. I ate a pain au chocolat (again, we don’t have these because…?) and managed to ask for my ticket to the castle with enough French that they didn’t initially ask my nationality as they had with the English couple in front of me. I felt like I’d won one for the hometown – there’s one less English-only speaking American overseas! Woo! But, I’m sure the girl in the ticket booth just thought, “That’s a terrible French accent” until I handed over my card and then thought “Ah-ha! That is why.” So maybe I didn’t ‘win’ as much as I’d like to think!

Last night my fellow retreaters and I held a potluck, and we had all sorts of deliciousness! In fact, I’m getting quite used to ending each meal with cheese, chocolate and red wine. Why isn’t this done back home?!

I’ve been doing a fair amount of writing and reading — THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by Doris Lessing, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (courtesy of the bookswap), and Ray Coleman’s LENNON: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY. My dual voice novel (working title: MUSE) has had the second voice taken out and replaced by another, and I’m about 80 pages into the first draft.

I’d come to the retreat with a goal of writing a full first draft, which was pretty ambitious. In being here though, I realized that part of this is the experience of the retreat itself – the culture exchange, the book talk after dinners, etc. So I am going to look at it anew – a first draft would be lovely, but there’s NaNoWriMo for high pressure writing. Instead, it’s time to write, absorb, read, and eat!

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